What if Courtney had left town as soon as the divorce papers were signed? As much as I hate the thought of Jason and Courtney not together, I heard this song and this story popped into my head.

She had given it her best shot. He had too, but to no avail. They were both well aware that their marriage could never be what each wanted it to be. He wouldn't go legit and she wouldn't condone violence. It was done amicably though. Courtney had cooked dinner; they had made small talk. And then, with a few tears shed, a few wishes of what could have been, and the simple stroke of an ink pen, the marriage was over. She was no longer Courtney Morgan, but again, Courtney Matthews.

And she had no idea who Courtney Matthews was anymore.

She was going to find out though.

Some days I couldn't get up
I couldn't get down
Bored of everything
Somehow a little black cloud
Rained over me
Someone was making me mad
Good turned bad and I lose everything
To get you back
Just to get you back

The first few weeks had been rough. Mostly, she had stayed in her house, locked away in her bedroom, hidden in the comfy security of her bed. She spent most of her days beating herself up over not saving her marriage.

After her marriage to AJ fell apart, Courtney had promised herself that she would never again fail in a marriage. And she had been well aware of what she was getting into when she married Jason. After all they had been through to be together, it seemed too easy to give up like they had. All it took was the time to sign her name to a piece of paper.

It was easier at first; staying in bed, beating herself up over her shortcomings as a wife, planning and plotting ways to get Jason back into her life. Once in awhile she called into her office to make sure things were operating smoothly, but she had people to run the waterfront for her, she didn't really need to be there. Her only other interaction with other people consisted of Carly showing up every day, with food and failed attempts at getting Courtney to leave the solitary confinement she had condemned herself to.

Slowly though, her frame of mind began to change. It took a little longer than anyone thought it would, but slowly, Courtney pulled herself out of bed and back into life.

Where life took her next though, is what surprised everyone the most. Especially her.

These days the world's alright
The sun shines bright
I'm kicking off the bad dreams
These days I don't think twice
I walk on light
I'm positively somewhere
These days go on long after you've gone
These days go on long after you've gone
These days go on and on and on and on and on

It didn't come easily, rebuilding her life. She had woken up one morning and the only thing she could think of was that she had to leave. And so, without another thought to it, she packed her bags, and went straight to the airport. No goodbyes, she knew they would only try to talk her out of it so she waited until she was settled in a hotel in the Midwest before calling Carly and Mike to tell them that she was okay and that she just needed some time away. To think that they both assumed she was only taking a vacation was correct, both were surprised as the days turned into weeks and weeks into months and it became obvious Courtney wasn't coming back.

She had sold the waterfront as soon as she was settled, and for a while, she could live off of the money, just enjoying her new surroundings. Eventually though, she became restless and took a job as a waitress in a little coffee shop that reminded her of Kelly's. And it was at this coffee shop where she met a woman who liked her so much that she offered her a job in her advertising firm immediately.

As tough as it was, she never let herself think about Jason. It still hurt too much, and she wasn't ready to deal with it. Instead, she reinvented herself. A moment of insane spontaneity made her shorten her hair to shoulder length and colored it a deep auburn. Her clothes became more stylish, more put-together. And although it was an act at first, her attitude changed, from that of a pushover to a very strong-willed, determined young woman.

Out of the fire into the swimming pool
Sometimes I drown my tears
Same old fears come back
Someone was making me ill
I bet you're still
A two, three, four letter word
Guess you heard
Pretty little birds fly home

Eventually though, Courtney began to realize that she could think of Jason and not feel the bitterness, the hurt, or the sadness. She could even smile at some of the memories if she let herself. One day she even realized that a man could walk by wearing Jason's favorite cologne and her eyes wouldn't fill with tears. Slowly but surely, Courtney was getting over Jason.

She still couldn't bring herself to be serious with another man though. Sure, she had friends, and she occasionally went on dates, but it never went any farther than that. She was afraid. Afraid that 2 failed marriages in her past could only lead to more heartbreak in her future.

So every night, she returned to her apartment, alone. And for now, she was fine with that, but what would she do on the one day that it wasn't enough for her? Would she ever be able to trust herself around another man enough to let herself love again?

There were those days though. The unbearable ones where the pain seemed as fresh and as hurtful as the last time she saw Jason. Days like their anniversary or his birthday. Those were the only days she let herself feel all of the emotions that came to her, instead of picking and choosing and bottling up the ones she didn't want to deal with.

But, just as with everything else, time began to heal those wounds as well. And then one day, Courtney looked at the calendar to see that it was the day that would have been their 4th anniversary and instead of bursting into tears as she had the previous years, she found herself smiling.

And that was all it took.

These days the sun kicks in
The good guys win
I'm legal in the back seat
These days I'm safe and sound
Not dragged down
You want to know the reason
These days go on long after you've gone
These days go on long after you've gone
These days go on and on and on and on and on

Five years had passed since Courtney had left Port Charles and moved to Chicago. Five years and she had never been back. Not until now.

Stepping out of the cab that had brought her to this familiar area from the airport, she looked around a town that hadn't changed at all since she had been gone, and when she caught her reflection in the glass that fronted Kelly's, realization hit home.

She had changed. Sure, her hair was back to being long and blonde, and she still had the same beliefs she had before leaving but she was changed. She smiled at her reflection in the glass. She was happy, and confident, and successful, and all those things Jason had always wanted her to be. And she had done it on her own.

Or maybe she hadn't.

Thank you for not being here
I feel better when you're not sleeping in my head
Tossing and turning
Messing up the sheets
The love we made was incomplete
Like the shoes on your feet
The same stuff I've heard it before
That philosophy starting to bore me
Now you won't have to smile and ignore me

He passed her on the street then, without realizing it. He was three steps past her, before he stopped and turned around, not believing his eyes.

They didn't speak. Not one word passed between them in that long moment. Their eyes connected, and slowly, Courtney felt a smile playing on her lips. She let it develop into a true, heartfelt smile, and was pleased to see one on his face as well.

The love was still there, they both could still feel it as it radiated between them. But they both also knew one harsh fact. Love isn't always enough. It never would be for them.

Courtney raised herself on her toes to kiss Jason on the cheek. It was a simple gesture. Sweet, but simple. But the meaning of the kiss wasn't lost on either one of them.

It was their final farewell. A final thank you for everything that was shared between them, for everything that happened because of them.

Yes, Courtney had changed. She realized that as she walked away, a smile still on her face. But she hadn't changed alone. Jason had helped her. In his own, quiet, non-intrusive way, he had helped her change.

And for that, she couldn't thank him, or love him enough.

These days I don't think twice
I walk on light
I'm positively somewhere
These days go on and on and on and on and on
These days go on and on and on and on and on
These days go on and on and on and on and on

Remember these days go on, remember these days go on, oh yeah, oh yeah...

Author's Note I'm pretty happy with this story, but it's also 5:30 am, so maybe I'm just really really tired. Please please please read and review and let me know what you think!!

The song used is These Days by Jennifer Paige